Wednesday, October 2, 2013


When I was a kid, I used to see television commercials for Hamm's beer all of the time. The commercials, you may recall, featured an animated bear and a catchy jingle about how Hamm's beer was from "the land of sky blue waters".  Obviously, I never purchased Hamm's beer when I was a kid and when I was old enough to start buying and consuming beer, I never chose Hamm's. In fact, until this week, I'd never tried a Hamm's beer.

For the last few years I've been experimenting with different brands and styles of beer on an off-and-on basis. Most of the time, when I drink beer, I prefer Miller Lite but I've sampled several different brands over the years and have found many to be to my liking. Lately, I've left the beer experiment choices up to my lovely wife Judy. When she's grocery shopping without me, she'll pick a six-pack of something based either on the label art, the price (beers on sale are always a good thing) or both.

The other day we were shopping together at H.E.B. after church and found ourselves in front of the beer cooler. There was Hamm's beer, not on sale, but priced very cheaply. I thought, why not? It's been around for years, I've never tried it, let's give it a shot.

When we got to the checkout line, we were informed that since it was a couple of minutes before noon (this was on a Sunday, remember), we couldn't purchase the beer at that time. All of our other grocery items were rung up first and we waited a couple of minutes until it was legal to buy the beer.

Let's make this clear. I had to wait to buy this stuff and I did so. Willingly.

According to the label on the cans of beer we bought, Hamm's has been brewed since 1865. I think the batch I bought was brewed in 1866. Hamm's is an astonishingly light beer (this from someone who generally prefers light, lager style beers). And it's not that this beer tastes bad. It's that this beer has no taste. None. It's unlike any other beer I've ever had. I'll finish the six-pack because I don't like to waste food and/or beverages. After all, I did wait to buy it. And hey, it was cheap.

But damn it, that cartoon bear sure let me down.


  1. As a kid growing up in the state line area of southern Wisconsin/northern Illinois, I too saw plenty of Hamm's beer with that goofy, entertaining bear. Plus I had a pack of hard-drinking uncles who imbibed more than their share of the product. (At one point they even "took" part of a neon Hamm's sign from somewhere, blacked out a portion of the "Cool refreshment from the land of sky blue waters" line, and displayed it in the back window of one of their cars so that it read "Cool men from the land of sky blue waters" ... until the cops made 'em take it out.
    Later in life, I, like you tried Hamm's for myself. I got some of my buddies to join in and one of them summed it for all of us by saying: "This stuff is like screwing in a canoe ... it's frickin' near water!"
    You're right, the bear commercials turned out to be, by far, the best part of Hamm's.

    1. Wayne:

      Thanks for reading and sharing your story. I wonder if anyone really likes Hamm's beer?

  2. I used to collect beer signs. My poker room that I built in my attic was totally lighted by beer signs. I had the Budweiser Clydesdales pulling the beer wagon around a large globe, and dozens of others, but everyone's favorite was the large Hamm's sign with the moving screen, featuring a campfire and a waterfall. The effect of the front screen moving against the back screen was mesmerizing.

  3. Jim:

    Thanks for reading and sharing your story. I agree. Those old Hamm's beer signs were downright hypnotic. Great effect!